Real Gone - Tom Waits
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. In ‘Real Gone’s fearsome complexity of rhythm, lyric and device, Tom Waits appropriates like a shoplifter without much time, and creates something entirely his own. A new music.
  2. 100
    Slapping his knees, spitting and grunting, Waits makes the already raw blues sound of songs like "Metropolitan Glide" and "Trampled Rose" sound even more grizzled.
  3. 91
    Totally grimy. [Nov 2004, p.118]
  4. There is plenty that is remarkable about Real Gone.
  5. 90
    Another smartly executed step into the strange grandeur of Mr. Waits. [#12, p.94]
  6. Real Gone is incredible because of its songs, some of which stand among Waits' finest work.
  7. Often riveting--and even a little gangsta. [8 Oct 2004, p.114]
  8. Real Gone... is Waits’ grittiest work to date and is an excellent introduction, for those unacquainted, to his hard-boiled thirty-year run.
  9. Reliably odd, then, but unexpectedly moving, too: the best Tom Waits album, all told, since 1992’s “Bone Machine”.
  10. It lurches along like a junk-heap jalopy, unsteady and unsafe, bits flying off in every direction, stopping, starting, and bouncing in pain.
  11. When you boil Real Gone down to its tracks, you’ll keep finding more reasons to love this man – more than anything, you can sense his easy grin.
  12. 80
    His first, full-tilt protest record... he comes out swinging, in every respect. [Oct 2004, p.110]
  13. 80
    Waits returns to spare storytelling. [Oct 2004, p.130]
  14. All the idiosyncrasies which either drew you to Waits or repelled you from him are present, and many songs hold a resemblance to past gems.
  15. Real Gone leans on nail-bending percussion and swagger in a manner that recalls Bone Machine's metallic binge more than the recent theatrics of Alice or Blood Money.
  16. Real Gone may not rock your world in the way that 2002's musical one-two punch of Blood Money and Alice did, but you'll still be glad to hear it.
  17. A set of powerfully written and unfussily executed songs. [#248, p.50]
  18. The result is a kind of compactness: a guttural groove so tight it helps Waits come off as a giant.
  19. Overall, the album doesn't show quite the range that some of his previous works have done, but if you enjoy Waits, you're definitely not going to go wrong here.
  20. 'Real Gone' is not by any means easy listening. It is, though, possibly a new type of music. [2 Oct 2004, p.64]
  21. The album feels only like an extension of the Alice / Blood Money plateau, rather than a new height for the artist. [#7]
  22. A semi-bizarre and semi-wonderful example of twisted, melted country-blues-psyche-pop oddballness.
  23. Real Gone is another provocative moment for Waits, one that has problems, but then, all his records do.
  24. A noisy, stamping, querulous assault on the senses that could have certainly benefited from more than a little editing.
  25. Much of Real Gone has been stripped so bare instrumentally that its heavy accumulation of rhythmic noise -- manipulated groans and grunts (“Metropolitan Glide”) what sounds like a cracking horsewhip (“Don’t Go Into The Barn”) -- establishes a sustained, bristling mood that electrifies particular songs but bogs down the album as a whole.
  26. Real Gone is haunted-house music that invites listeners in for some shared uneasiness, but never lets them settle for long.
  27. Like an altar built of barbed wire, scrap metal and broken glass, "Real Gone" hammers ungraceful materials into something like beauty.
  28. 70
    A spastically raw and cacophonous basement record. [#8, p.79]
  29. 60
    Waits is still taking more risks than most US 'singer-songwriters' of his generation, and parts of this album rock righteously. It's just that some of Waits' musical modes... have been done before, and much better. By him. [Nov 2004, p.110]
  30. Waits retains his knack for recruiting world-class musicians... who can play like they're falling down the stairs of hell. [28 Oct 2004, p.98]
  31. Tough going and very samey, both in sonics and lyricism. Even if you enjoy the basic template, you may well run out of steam before the end.
  32. Some of the most awkward, unapproachable music he's made. [Nov 2004, p.128]

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